1950s >> 1952 >> no-571-march-1952

Shinbone Pie! Or Who are the Hungry?

According to an Evening Standard correspondent in the Argentine (1-2-52) President Peron has been talking about food and hunger.

Speaking to delegates to the First National Congress of Justice (Buenos Aires) he referred to his statement made to British meat negotiators not too long ago when they were debating price and conditions of selling and buying meat. “You have hunger and we have meat, and we will see who can last the longer”

Congress of Justice, eh! Real capitalist competitive justice and sounding so like the boss class negotiating with workers in strike times.

The “work more, eat less” gospel is being put into practice as the guns or butter effort goes forward.

Now, worker, when did you last have a nice big juicy steak?

Can you afford poultry and expensive tinned food to make up your rations?

Have you a farm to supply you with eggs and extras?

But cheer up, the bombs are bigger and better. It’s all O.K. You and the “enemy” can knock ’em out by the thousands instead of the hundreds. Yes, the work of anatomical dissection will be on a colossal scale, so why worry about the price of meat. At , least the vultures will have plenty!

Peron’s words set the writer’s memory on a backward journey. Time, March. 1941. Place, our old bomb-dissected Head Office at Great Dover Street. Borough, with Party members salvaging what was left of “our effects.”

After a long day, hungry and dry with bomb dust I popped into a snack bar and ordered the best, first a chunk of canary coloured cake and a cup of tea. The cake about as delicious as bomb dust; the tea! war-time tea. So, as the inner man kept shouting “Heave ho,” I asked for a snack, more substantial, and the proprietor suggested an “individual meat pie.” I had a go and after an “all in” with my dentures, I got through the crust and struck the individual meat. It jarred my jawbones and I withdrew from the feast, paid up and popped the question to the proprietor, what did he call the pie? “Individual meat,” he explained. “Yes,” I replied. “the Individual must have been Methuselah,” and my munchers had struck his shinbone, and so with my inner man defiant and unappeased I hopped down the Borough Tube, past the long line of workers already harbouring from the bombing murder, and made for the West End where I was doing a spot of assisting in a luxury business, and there in Piccadilly’s luxury food store windows I saw the very opposite to war-time tea and shinbone pie. Yes. and it was not labelled “For our mangled war ‘ heroes,” it was just for sale—if you had the dough. So now you meat-producing, bomb-making, all wealth-producing workers! Are you really nuts?

Capt. Cook.